Is the air inside your home making you and your family sick? You want to think it’s not, but according to research, 96% of homes have some form of indoor air quality issue.
The problem is, most of us spend 90% of our time indoors, so when that air is up to five times MORE polluted than outdoor air, your health can take a hit. If you suffer from asthma, allergies or sleep disorders, there’s a very good chance your indoor air quality is to blame.
Do Indoor Air Quality Monitors Really Work?
With more and more people becoming aware of potential air quality issues inside their home, a handful of indoor air quality monitors have hit the market. Experts agree that this new health trend is booming, and the air quality monitor market is expected to exceed more than $7 billion by 2024.
The majority of monitors either plug directly into a power outlet like a nightlight, sit on a shelf or attach to the wall like a thermostat. These Wi-Fi and Bluetooth-connected gadgets then monitor the quality of your home’s air 24/7. Many come with an easy-to-view light that glows either red (problem) yellow (warning) or green (everything is A-okay).
From the reviews and specs we have read, yes, these monitors seem to be able to identify some harmful pollutants in the air.
What Exactly is Polluting Your Home’s Air?
According to the EPA, there is a list of pollutants that are common in households across the United States:
Raddon is a radioactive gas that gets inside homes via the ground beneath it, well water and common building materials. Radon is extremely dangerous because it is odorless, colorless and tasteless and produces no immediate symptoms. This means you can inhale it for days and weeks and never even know it.
But inhalation of radon is indeed linked to lung cancer, and this risk goes up in households with smokers.
And speaking of smokers, many households have dangerous chemicals from cigarettes that linger in the air. So long after the cigar or cigarette is put out, those living in the house, including children and pets, will be inhaling these chemicals.
Tobacco smoke carries its own risks including lung cancer, respiratory issues such as asthma and bronchitis, heart disease and general irritation of the eyes, nose and throat.
Any kind of dampness issue carries with it a risk of developing black mold. For instance, you may have had a leak going on in the plumbing right behind your kitchen sink. But, it was a slow leak and you didn’t notice any issues for weeks or months. When you finally did notice, black mold had already taken hold in the drywall.
Many basements are constantly damp. They are underground and easily take in water during rainstorms. These areas are black mold breeding grounds. Black mold spores easily spread throughout your house, getting into your HVAC system where they are then sent into every room.
Volatile Organic Chemicals (VOCs)
VOCs are organic compounds or gases that are emitted from many different sources such as paint, cleaning supplies, pesticides, glues, printers and photocopiers, permanent markers, and certain building materials, and even carpeting and furniture. This list shows you your home probably has quite a few VOCs in its atmosphere.
These are tiny particles that can be easily inhaled. Generally, these particles come from tobacco smoke as well as from wood stoves, fireplaces and kerosene heaters. These little buggers are notorious for causing irritation of the eyes, nose and throat and exacerbate asthma.
So Your Monitor Alerts You to Problems in Your Home’s Air – Now What?
Knowing the air quality in your home is compromised is a good start to healthier living for your family. But what do you do once you learn you’re breathing not-so-clean air?
This is where an air purifier comes in.
Air purifiers are designed to removes particulate matter and gases from your home’s air. But to do this you need to make sure you purchase air purifiers with the right filtration system.
If your air quality monitor has found you have mold spores or other particulate matter, you will require a HEPA filter. HEPA filters are incredibly good at trapping even the smallest of particles.
HEPA filters can trap particles as small as 0.3 microns with an efficiency rating of 99.97%. Consider that the average human hair is between 70 – 100 microns and you get a sense of how great these filters are at trapping pollutants that are invisible to the naked eye.
But as great as HEPA filters are, they can’t remove gases from the air. For that you need a unit that has an activated carbon filtration system. These filters are specially made to have a very large surface area that can trap VOCs.
Of course, just to cover all of your bases, you can get an air purifier that comes with both a HEPA filter and activated carbon filter.
Technology is making it easier for us to ensure our family is breathing clean air at all times. Many of the air quality monitors sold on the market allow you to connect them directly to an air purifier. Should pollutant levels in your home become too high, they send a signal to your air purifier, which turns on and begins to clean your air.
Improving the indoor air quality in your home is something to take very seriously. There are monitors that will help you know exactly when the levels are getting dangerous, and there are air purifiers that will help you clean up the mess.
If you already know your home’s air quality is not all that great and are in the market for an air purifier, take a look through our selection of HEPA units and those that can remove VOCs from your home’s air.
Have any questions about which air purifier might be right for you? Just contact us and we’ll be more than happy to answer any questions you may have.